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Media Watch releases report on torture, killing, harassment of journalists in 2005

(Media Watch/IFEX) - The following is a 1 January 2006 Media Watch press release:

Bangladesh - 2005

The year 2005 was one of torture and repression for journalists in Bangladesh, as documented by Media Watch's monitoring report published 1 January 2006. The report indicates that at least 370 journalists were tortured in 2005, while three were killed by perpetrators still at large.

Of the three journalists killed, Sheikh Belal Uddin, bureau chief of Dainik Sangram, was killed in a bomb attack in February in Khulna. Golam Mahfuz, editor and publisher of Dainik Comilla Muktakantha, was stabbed to death in his house in Comilla, east of the capital Dhaka, in May. Gautam Das, Faridpur-based bureau chief of Dainik Samakal, was found strangled and broken-limbed in his office in November.

The report also notes that 133 journalists were attacked and164 others received death threats, while 36 received threats of lesser severity. Cases were filed against 17 journalists, 11 were arrested, and arrest warrants were issued against another seven.

The report also acknowledges that its data may be incomplete, and that the incidents of torture and harassment of journalists in 2005 may well have been more numerous. Such incidents often go unreported in the media.

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